Four new wide releases couldn't top holdovers Dolphin Tale and Moneyball this weekend.

‘Dolphin Tale’ Moves into First Place

on October 03, 2011 by Daniel Garris

After opening in a strong third place last weekend, Warner's Dolphin Tale moved into first place this weekend with $13.91 million. The 3D family film was down a healthy 27 percent, as strong word of mouth and no new completion for family audiences on this weekend's slate both helped the film greatly. Dolphin Tale continues to exceed expectations with a ten-day start of $37.18 million. That places the film an impressive 36 percent ahead of the pace of last year's Secretariat (which also fell 27 percent in its second weekend). Expect Dolphin Tale to continue to hold up well until Paramount's Puss in Boots enters the marketplace on October 28.

Also holding up nicely this weekend was Sony's Moneyball. The baseball drama starring Brad Pitt fell 38 percent to remain in second place with $12.03 million. The very solid percentage hold was a bit more impressive when factoring in that the first round of the Major League Baseball playoffs began this weekend. Moneyball has grossed $38.00 million through ten days, which is in line with pre-release expectations. The film is currently running 5 percent ahead of the pace of 2008's Burn After Reading and 17 percent behind last year's The Social Network.

Disney's The Lion King 3D fell two spots and a sizable 52 percent from last weekend to finish in third with $10.62 million. The 3D re-issue clearly took a hit this weekend, which is typically the case when a film with a limited engagement window extends beyond that originally announced window. With that said, The Lion King 3D has absolutely demolished expectations with $79.21 million in 17 days. The lifetime domestic gross of The Lion King surpassed the $400 million milestone this weekend and now stands at $407.75 million.

Turning to this weekend's four new wide releases, Sony's Courageous was clearly the weekend's most impressive performer. The TriStar released faith-based film from Sherwood Pictures debuted in fourth with $9.06 million. Courageous opened 33 percent stronger than the $6.80 million debut of 2008's Fireproof, which was also produced by Sherwood Pictures. With an A+ rating from CinemaScore, Courageous will have a good chance of duplicating the strong holding power of Fireproof going forward. This weekend's debut for Courageous was especially impressive when taking into account that the film was produced for just $2 million and was playing in only 1,161 locations.

Summit's 50/50 opened with $8.64 million to claim fifth place. The low-budget film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen landed on the low end of expectations. However, the film did hold up well as the weekend went on, as it registered an opening weekend ratio of 2.99 to 1 after opening with $2.89 million on Friday. That is a good early sign for the film going forward, as is its A- rating on CinemaScore. The audience breakdown for 50/50 this weekend skewed towards female moviegoers (54 percent) and towards moviegoers under 30 (57 percent).

Though the grosses weren't all that much lower, the results were nonetheless much less impressive for this weekend's other two wide releases.

Dream House, which was easily the weekend's most expensive wide release, debuted in sixth place with $8.13 million. It should be noted that Universal was only distributing the Morgan Creek produced thriller directed by Jim Sheridan and starring Daniel Craig. Dream House opened on the low end of its modest pre-release expectations.

Fox's What's Your Number? debuted with an even softer $5.42 million. The romantic comedy starring Anna Faris and Chris Evans opened below its already modest expectations. The audience breakdown for What's Your Number? skewed 63 percent female and 63 percent over 25. With so many other current films skewing towards female moviegoers, there ultimately wasn't enough room in the marketplace for What's Your Number? this weekend.

Additional reporting by Phil Contrino.

Follow @DanielBOXOFFICE on Twitter for additional box office updates.

Tags: What's Your Number, Dream House, 50/50, Courageous, The Lion King 3D, Moneyball, Dolphin Tale

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